Designing Artist profiles


One missing bit in Funkwhale is the ability for artists and creators to manage their own profile. Among other things, people already requested the ability:

  • to claim a profile (for instance someone wanted to add new tracks and links to an artist page that was mirrored from the Free Music Archive)
  • have more data on artist pages:
    • genre/tags
    • links to social media and purchase platforms
    • contact information
    • artist pictures
    • a bio section
  • have more data on album pages:
    • genre/tags
    • licence / copyright information
    • link to stores where people can buy the album
    • description / credits section
  • have more data on track pages:
    • genre/tags
    • licence / copyright information

Since genre / tagging is already in the pipes, I suggest we focus here on other mentionned points, and how claiming an artist profile would actually work.

A draft

In terms of user experience, my current vision is as follows:

Artist profiles, by default, do not belong to anyone. Only moderators can edit them. However, it’s possible for creators to claim them. Claiming process would involve manual verification by moderators, to avoid impersonation:

Alice visit and see that some of her work published under a Creative Commons license, on another platform is available here as well. She’d like to improve the way her work is showcased, add a small biography, and upload her latest tracks.

She clicks on the “Claim this artist profile” button, creates an account on, and fill in a form to explain who she is and provide some proofs that she actually is the artist.

One day later, Bob, a moderator at review the claim and approves it.

Alice can now manage her profile on herself.

Couple of notes:

  • We may be able to partially automate the reviewing process (especially the proof part, with rel=me, for instance).
  • Artist profile would be broadcasted over federation, and viewable from any instance
  • I’m not sure how this would work with the current audio libraries design. My initial idea is that we would internally create and bind a dedicated public library for each artist profile

What are your thoughts on this?

Funkwhale Sync #4
An initial roadmap for Funkwhale
Help Funkwhale users discovering and listening commercial music legally

Collateral question: what happens when several federated instances have a page about the same artist, and one or several of them are claimed? Is there “a winner”? Do instances recognized a claimed artist page over the federation?


That’s an interesting question. I believe there are two scenarios:

  1. Instance A federates a track from instance B. No matching artist is found on instance A, so a new artist is created, pointing to the artist on instance B. This is typically what happen if you follow a remote library when your instance is empty
  2. Instance A federates a track from instance B, and a matching artist is found on instance A, so the track is binded to the existing artist. The artist remain local, it’s not updated. This typically happens if you have an album from an artist, and follow a remote library containing another album from that artist

Option 1. is the best-case scenario, because we could disable the claim feature on instance A and say instead “This artist profile is located at instance B, claim it there”. Once claimed, the change would be broadcasted over federation and thus on instance A.

Option 2. is more tricky to handle and the best we can do is probably to offer a way for moderators to merge a local artist with a remote one. I don’t think we should do this automatically, unless we find a way to prove automatically that both artist are actually the same.

One way to do that would be to leverage third-party databases like MusicBrainz. If artist profile Y on instance A point to MusicBrainz object, and this object points to profile Z on instance B, we would be able to trust instance B’s profile ransparently.

That’s assuming people from MusicBrainz actually support this kind of identity checking use case.


So I feel like this bleeds into the podcast support also. Please forgive my many questions:

  • Would podcasters have to create an artist page and then claim it and then update it?
  • Is there some way for creators to have a profile/user page that isn’t separate from their artist info?
  • If a podcast has multiple people in it, could each member of the podcast have their own user profile that was linked on their podcast’s page?
  • Would the podcast page be the artist page or a different thing on top of that?

It seems like creators should have a way to make their own profiles with all the info you listed and include their crowdfunding and whatever else.

I think also “profile” might be confusing because most people think “user profile” so if you have user profiles and artist profiles. And if a creator wants to use Funkwhale to share their stuff they’ll have a user profile and an artist profile?

Forgive my many, perhaps horribly off-topic questions. :sweat_smile:


I’ll try to answer you @ginnymcqueen (and you’re already forgiven :D)

Possibly, but I expect most if not all on this work to work for any kind of audio content we choose to support.

Not necessarily, because content can flow in the system in various way. For instance, if we implement podcasts, users will likely be able to subscribe to podcasts (via RSS feeds). So we’ll have podcast information (including creators) in Funkwhale.

It’s like for music: people can upload music from any artist, leading to the creation of an artist page, without the artist knowing it or being involved at all.

Is it desirable in your opinion? I can see that it’s appealing to keep a simple model (1 user = 1 artist profile) but it also completely closes the door for managing multiple profiles (one for a solo project, one for a band thing, etc) from the same account.

A way to solve this could be to allow “pinning” an artist profile under your control on your personal profile maybe?

Separating user and artist profiles also serves another purpose: you could have your personal activity remaining private, and accessible to only your followers, while keeping your artist profiles and activity open to a wider audience.

I don’t see any issue with this idea, on the contrary! (Same goes for musical content, you could have a track link to the singer and guitarist profiles)

Hm good question. I don’t have an easy answer for that one. I’d say the most flexible schema would look like this:

User account ---> Artist Profile ---> Podcast ---> Episode

We could create the Artist Profile automatically though to reduce the work on the users?


Accounts and Profiles should not be 1:1. If you lock yourself into that assumption then it will be incredibly difficult to fix that later. Put simply, an account should only be used for logging in and managing your profiles. Profiles should have a corresponding Actor so that they can perform actions such as listening and publishing and following.


discussion moved to:

closed #9